lic·​o·​rice | \ ˈli-k(ə-)rish How to pronounce licorice (audio) , -k(ə-)rəs How to pronounce licorice (audio) \

Definition of licorice

1a : the dried root of a European leguminous plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers also : an extract of this used especially in medicine, liquors, and confectionery
b : a candy flavored with licorice or a substitute (such as anise)
2 : a plant yielding licorice also : a related plant

Examples of licorice in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Cut red licorice into 3-inch-long pieces and insert one piece into each hole as legs. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Silly Spider Cupcake," 12 Sep. 2019 Vivic sells sparkling coffee with a touch of licorice, or lavender, or sarsaparilla, a flavor that’s akin to root beer. Maura Judkis, Washington Post, "Canned coffee is suddenly a lot more interesting, with funky flavors and many more bubbles," 27 June 2019 John deBary is a far-ranging combination of botanicals and fruit—blackberry, black pepper, roasted dandelion root, licorice, rose, and hibiscus, as well as a hit of fig vinegar. Kate Krader | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "What Drinks to Serve Non-Drinkers This Thanksgiving," 28 Nov. 2019 The candy’s elements—licorice, salt, and, no joke, ammonium chloride—hit your tongue, throat, and nose in various combinations as the black morsel dissolves in your mouth over the course of a minute or two. Wired, "The Polestar 1 Is a Powerful Throwback Treat—Like Licorice," 5 Nov. 2019 Topical skin care regimens containing ingredients like hydroquinone, arbutin, kojic acid, azelaic acid, licorice, tranexamic acid and vitamin C can help to reduce hyperpigmentation with time. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Dr. Michelle Henry Talks How To Treat Underarm Hyperpigmentation, Milia And More," 16 Oct. 2019 Some patients resort to folk remedies, like kombucha tea or licorice, or riskier treatments, such as amphetamines or shots of hydrogen peroxide. Mike Mariani, The New Yorker, "A Town for People with Chronic Fatigue," 3 Sep. 2019 This latest version of the scent reportedly features top notes of lavender and bergamot, middle notes of jasmine, iris, and rose, and base notes of vanilla, sandalwood, coumarin, benzoin, licorice, and patchouli. Marci Robin, Allure, "Nearly All of Angelina Jolie's Tattoos Are Visible in Her New Guerlain Perfume Ad," 4 Aug. 2019 Soobin, who sometimes giggles demurely behind his hand, tries very mild licorice, covered in chocolate. Teen Vogue, "TXT Members Share the Secret Behind Their Mega-Hit Song 'Crown'," 15 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'licorice.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of licorice

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for licorice

Middle English licorice, from Anglo-French licoris, from Late Latin liquiritia, alteration of Latin glycyrrhiza, from Greek glykyrrhiza, from glykys sweet + rhiza root — more at dulcet, root

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Time Traveler for licorice

Time Traveler

The first known use of licorice was in the 13th century

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Statistics for licorice

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Licorice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for licorice


How to pronounce licorice (audio) How to pronounce licorice (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of licorice

: a candy made from the dried root of a European plant


lic·​o·​rice | \ ˈli-kə-rish How to pronounce licorice (audio) , -rəs \

Kids Definition of licorice

1 : the dried root of a European plant or a juice from it used in medicine and in candy
2 : candy flavored with licorice


variants: or chiefly British liquorice \ ˈlik(-​ə)-​rish How to pronounce liquorice (audio) , -​rəs How to pronounce liquorice (audio) \

Medical Definition of licorice

1 : a European leguminous plant of the genus Glycyrrhiza (G. glabra) with pinnate leaves and spikes of blue flowers
b : an extract of glycyrrhiza commonly prepared in the form of a gummy or rubbery paste

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More from Merriam-Webster on licorice

Spanish Central: Translation of licorice

Nglish: Translation of licorice for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of licorice for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about licorice

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